Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences (SMILES) E-Newsletter


To: Alumni and Friends of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and the Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences (SMILES) Programs

In this newsletter we have the opportunity to congratulate our recent graduates, welcome back our second-year MBA students and introduce our incoming MBA class. In addition, we provide a brief update on WEB (Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp) which is a program we help sponsor and has been growing every year since it started three years ago. Along with some great press, our alumni have been receiving from both national and regional media, we also have an alumni profile from Todd Muderlak, class of 1999.



Table of Contents

Center/Specialization News and Events
WAVE and Weinert Advisory Board Updates
Faculty/School News
Alumni Updates


Full-Time Placement

Recent graduates are spending their days in a variety of ways with many launching their own start-up or joining a firm's leadership team. Check out the list below:

  • Tom Carmona, Founder, City Dictionary
  • Miles Gerson, Analyst for High Country Ventures; Consultant for Colorado Initiative for Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Colorado-Boulder; Associate for Fitzsimons BioBusiness Partners
  • Ryan Palmer, Founder, Cultured Kids Immersion School
  • Prabhu Ramamoorthy, Founder, Paramam Financial and still seeking employment
  • John Ribolizi, Vice President, Community Car
  • Erik Snyder, Founder, Senederos
  • Kavi Turnbull, Founder, DriveAlternatives.com
  • Troy Vosseller, Intuit Internship
  • Jenny Zhang, still seeking employment


Returning second-year students have had a busy summer working at places round the globe. Check out the list below:

  • Duncan Basson, WiCell and Kauffman Entrepreneurship Community Internship Program -- Post Prison Employment (PPE), Madison
  • Erin Byrd, Thembani Guarantee International Fund, South Africa
  • Ryan Fields, Fields Jaguar Land Rover Volvo, Madison
  • Justin Hajny, Center for Advanced Studies in Business (CASB), Asset Builders of America, Chamber of Sustainability, Madison
  • Doug Henry, GroFin, South Africa
  • Ananda Chandana Nallapu, Vestas, Houston
  • Marcel Petrutiu, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Madison
  • Joe Raffiee-Shirazi, Kauffman Entrepreneurship Community Internship Program -- Post Prison Employment (PPE) and WEB, Madison
  • Chip Seidel, Adams Hussey and Asset Builders of America, Washington, DC
  • Heidi Vogel, Assured Group, Chicago

Incoming Students:

We are pleased to welcome eight Entrepreneurship and two SMILES students into this year's incoming class.

Braden Bruington -- Braden has his BS in Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse University

Kati (Katherine) Goetsch -- Kati has a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Chris (Christian) Herrild -- Chris completed his BS in chemistry and mathematics major, biology minor at Marquette University and is currently also completing his JD at the UW-Madison

Katie (Kathryn) Krueger -- Katie completed her BA at Miami University in Psychology/Women's Studies/Economics

Noah Kunin-Goldsmith -- Noah received a BA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Chad Mack -- Chad received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Oliver Richards -- Oliver received his BS from the University of Chicago, and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (SMILES)

Sars (Dan) Sarbacker -- Dan received his BA in Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis

Evan Sengbusch -- Evan received his B.Sc. from the University of Iowa in Physics and Math (SMILES) and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Medical Physics at the UW-Madison

Adam Sorkin -- Adam received his BA in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University

For more information on each student, please visit: http://www.bus.wisc.edu/weinertcenter/students/Current%20First%20Year%20Students.asp or http://www.bus.wisc.edu/smiles/profiles/

Incoming SMILES Student completes Ph.D.

Oliver Richards, WEB 2008, is to be congratulated on the recent successful completion of his Ph.D. defense! On July 31, Oliver presented his dissertation, "Novel Roles for PDGF-B and SorCS1 in Peripheral Insulin Sensitivity” which focused on discovering and describing new genes related to Type 2 Diabetes. Oliver completed his Ph.D. in the Biochemistry Department under the Cellular and Molecular Biology Training Program. Oliver will be joining the career specialization in SMILES this fall.

Second-Year Students Launch Social Entrepreneurial Venture

Duncan Basson, Joseph Raffiee-Shirazi, and a law student launched a program to provide basic employment training to prisoners in a low-security Madison prison. Funding was provided from a Kauffman Foundation grant that is awarded to qualified UW entrepreneurs with a vision for a social entrepreneurship program in Madison. The team won the award in May and have just graduated their first class. They are looking for volunteers in the Madison area to teach future classes or to network with area businesses who are open to hiring prisoners with criminal backgrounds. Write to Duncan at dsbasson@wisc.edu or Joe at raffieeshira@wisc.edu if you are able to assist them.


This past July, Inacom Information Systems was acquired by Core TBS. Founder & CEO Laurie Benson has retired from Inacom and is focusing on her local, state and national community interests where she continues to have a significant impact. For more information on the story, please read: http://wistechnology.com/articles/6326/


Start-ups Linked to UW-Madison Faculty, Staff and Students

A new study released by INSITE shows that over 250 companies have UW-Madison ties. For complete story please see http://www.jsonline.com/business/51033702.html

Summer WEB (Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp) Offers Third "Crash Course in Entrepreneurship"

The third summer WEB Bootcamp was held July 19-24. WEB is a Wisconsin School of Business program co-sponsored by INSITE and the Weinert Center. This camp is aimed at UW grad students in engineering, the sciences and law. Sixty Ph.D., Masters and Post Doc students from several departments across campus attended the 12-hour-per-day camp. In addition, five students from the Netherlands attended along with three of their advisors. The program introduced the students to tools, information and concepts about how to initiate and sustain a technology-based start-up.

Anne Miner and Dan Olszewski (Wisconsin School of Business) acted as Masters of Ceremonies as well as instructors, along with Cisco's John Morgridge (UW Alum), playing key roles in the overall program design.

Session leaders, panelists, speakers and advisors included:

  • Paul Barford, UW-Madison, Department of Computer Sciences
  • G. Steven Burrill, Burrill & Co.
  • Scott Button, Venture Investors
  • Mason Carpenter, Wisconsin School of Business
  • James Dahlberg, UW-Madison, Biomolecular Chemistry
  • Randy Dimond, Promega
  • Michael Enyart, Wisconsin School of Business
  • Theresa Esser, Silicon Pastures
  • Michael Falk, WARF
  • Judy Faulkner, Epic
  • Brandi Gancarz, WEB Alum
  • Rick Gourse, UW-Madison, Bacteriology Department
  • Phil Greenwood, Wisconsin School of Business
  • Carl Gulbrandsen, WARF
  • Bob Hamers, UW Chemistry Department
  • Laura Heisler, WARF
  • Chip Hunter, Wisconsin School of Business
  • Barb Israel, UW School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Wim Jongen, Wageningen University
  • Ralph Kauten, Quintessence Biosciences
  • Laura Kiessling, UW-Madison, Chemistry Department
  • Mike Knetter, Wisconsin School of Business
  • Dick Leazer, WARF
  • Peter Lipton, UW-Madison, Department of Physiology
  • Thomas Mackie, UW-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health, College of Engineering
  • Richard Moss, UW-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health, Dept of Physiology
  • John Neis, Venture Investors
  • Dietram Scheufele, UW-Madison, Department of Life Sciences Communications
  • Gitte Schober, Wageningen University
  • Lloyd Smith, UW-Madison, Chemistry
  • Chad Sorenson, UgoGrill
  • John Surdyk, INSITE
  • Paul Reckwerdt, TomoTherapy Founder

Thanks to the organizational staff: Eric Alborn, Janet Christopher, Ash Gupta, Lucas Monroe, Joe Raffiee-Shirazi, John Surdyk, and Cheryl Vickroy.

And special thanks to John and Tashia Morgridge and other program sponsors for making this bootcamp possible.

Ankit Agarawal, WEB 2009, has been named a Kauffman Postdoctoral Entrepreneurship Fellow. For complete article, please see http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/kauffman-foundation-announces-first-class-of-postdoctoral-entrepreneurship-fellows.aspx


Echometrix and WARF signed an exclusive licensing contract on ultrasound technology. Entrepreneurship alum, Sam Adams (2004) is currently with Echometrix. Craig Heim (2000), WARF, is quoted in the article. Please see http://wistechnology.com/articles/6434/ This start-up was also a WAVE project with other alums, Aga Nasalska (2007), Eugene Yang (2007), and Eric Olson (2007) working on it as a class project.

Sal Braico (2002), CEO, Flex Biomedical, announced their relocation to Madison after raising significant capital. With this round of funding they will be able to further develop their lead product, Flex Polymer, an injectible treatment for osteoarthritis. To read complete article, please see: http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/461871

Nalinee (Thongchua) Cain (2001) and husband Marshall welcomed a healthy 7 lbs 3 oz baby boy, William Marshall Cain, on June 4, 2009..

Miles Gerson (2009) was just named as an Associate for Fitzsimons BioBusiness Partners: www.fbbp.org

Heather Hilleren (2005) appears in the Aug 2009 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine with her company, Local Dirt. The story named Madison one of the 10 best places to be an entrepreneur. Please see http://www.entrepreneur.com/magazine/entrepreneur/2009/august/202666-8.html

Tyler Leeper (2008) makes the news in the New York Times with Wingra Boats. For full article, please see: http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/travel/05Hours.html?scp=3&sq=madison wi&st=tcse


Chad Sorenson (2002), is proud to announce Sologear has begun shipping to Home Depot stores and Dicks Sporting Goods. They also have initiated their fall event marketing plans which include Brewers, Packers and Badger football. The campaign is titled "Don't Be Chained to Charcoal," and featured a branded 24' straight truck and golf cart and a dozen uniformed FlameDisk brand ambassadors who sample free FlameDisks during pregame tailgating.

Chad was featured on the Jody & Joan InBusiness Magazine Podcast July 22. To listen to his story, please go to http://podcast.loyalears.com/wtdy.php?task=browse&file_id=4802. He was also featured with Nicole Koglin grilling out for everyone at the station on Channel 6 FOX's Weather Deck. Please watch: http://ow.ly/lgOb

In addition, Chad has developed a new seminar for the University of Wisconsin that he will be teaching this fall, which will be open to undergraduate students interested in conceiving and commercializing inventions. The seminar is not for credit and will accompany the Innovation Days competition.

Keith Streckenback (1999) has a press release noting that his company PharmacyOneSource recently achieved an industry milestone. Healthcare Informatics Names Pharmacy OneSource to the HCI 100 for the First Time by Pharmacy OneSource Published: 6/5/2009 Rank of 95th marks first year on list of HIT vendors. For the press release, please read http://www.pharmacyonesource.com/news/article.asp?article_id=12267

Toni Sikes

Troy Vosseller (2009), made national news with Sconnie Nation's "We'll Never Forget You Brent" T-shirt. The T-shirt received national publicity throughout sports media, including:

Wisconsin State Journal: http://www.madison.com/wsj/mad/latest/455966
Fox Sports: http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/9727544
Deadspin: http://deadspin.com/5295371/wisconsin-actually-has-an-inspired-sense-of-humor

Elizabeth Wewerka (aka Lady Moxie 2001) was featured in a new Madison magazine, Modern Bliss, launched with its premiere issue at the beginning of August. Lady Moxie was featured in the article "Back to School."

Featured Alumni

Image of Alumnus

Todd Muderlak

1999 Graduate

Xela Innovations, LLC


Words that come to mind when I characterize a successful entrepreneur: self motivating, resourceful, creative, resilient, focused, unselfish, proud, optimistic…all with an underlying twist of craze! I will admit that I weigh heavily on the "craze"!

Entrepreneurism has been a common theme throughout my life. From humble beginnings throughout middle and high-school managing a landscaping business and supporting my father’s product development company, I knew my future would only be fulfilled with the excitement and challenges of entrepreneurism.

Consequently, upon graduating from college it was my objective to become exposed to everything from sales and marketing to operations and international relations. All of which I felt was required to successfully lead an organization from "nothing to something". You mix these experiences with my sense of adventure, impatience and "A.D.D. – like" tendencies, you then have someone presumably prepared for the peaks and valleys experienced in any new venture.

As an overview, these adventures brought me from selling Prozac with Eli Lilly and managing commodities on the Board of Trade to developing grass root businesses for three years with the World Bank as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama. Later, I had the opportunity to consult process and marketing strategy with Accenture (previously Andersen Consulting) with a wide variety of companies around the world. Consulting was a phenomenal opportunity as it provided exposure to so many business challenges, cultures and mentors in such a short period of time.

These and other experiences provided me the core set of tools needed to better lead an organization. However, I lacked some key strategic financial, marketing and managerial skill sets related to initiating, leading and growing a business.

After traveling to many MBA programs, I was introduced to the Weinert group at UW - Madison. Most specifically, I met with the "face" of the program, Dr. Bob Pricer….Bob OOZED entrepreneurism in so many ways…. He had done it all and spoke with such a zeal for the program and most importantly earnestly cared for all of us that wanted to "learn" the tools of entrepreneurism. After many discussions with Dr. Pricer, a few interviews and applications, I was accepted to the program. From there, my life turned into non-stop learning, teaching and applying key strategic methodologies of Weinert to small ventures around Wisconsin.

Aside from the core methodologies learned from the program, I developed a core network of consultants, entrepreneurs, financiers, educators and friends that have become the most invaluable resource for my managerial, business, and personal growth. Even today, fellow Weinert Grads, friends and successful entrepreneurs like Marsha McVicker, Andy Garni, Jay Ebben, Neil Peters Michaud and Adam Bock seem to always be there for questions and support. Since graduating from Weinert, I have been fortunate to manage and grow a few businesses that each possesses unique challenges.

The first and founding organization was Muderlak Design, Inc (MDI - www.muderlakdesign.com) http://www.muderlakdesign.com based in 3rd Ward of Milwaukee. My father founded the product design and development company in the late 70’s. An artist by trade with also the uncanny knack for engineering product, he was extremely successful innovating products from idea through detailed engineering and manufacturing. Over the last 25 plus years, MDI has innovated some of the most successful and recognizable mechanical and automatic hygiene solutions found in the washroom. To name a few, these products include many versions of the Auto Flush, Auto Faucet, Automatic and Mechanical Soap, Auto Clean (for Urinals and Tank Toilets), and Passive / Auto Fragrance Dispensers. In addition, MDI was the invisible hand behind Trek’s helmets and Look bike pedals, Promega’s packaging and a UW – Madison engineer’s product, the TurboTap. Once my father and I had the mutual respect required to work together (IE: no bickering), I joined MDI as the president while my father focused on innovation. Never running a design business before, it was quite a learning process; however, my background in process, sales and management helped me to streamline MDI’s services and effectiveness as a design and development team. Our new global design process and larger, experienced team helped grow the business from $250K in profits to over $1.2 Million in four years. Most importantly, our streamlined design and development processes were ready to be applied to my number one objective: A Sales and Marketing Firm.

As exciting as providing design and development services can be, I felt it was time to own these innovations, build brands, create infrastructure and sell. Expensive and challenging goal, but my entrepreneurial spirits would accept nothing less and the long term residual rewards were enticing! The sales and marketing company is called,, Xela Innovations, llc, http://www.xelainnovations.com/index.html. The objective of Xela was to redirect MDI’s strategic intent from a design and development service company to a global manufacturer, distributor and marketer of its innovations. Aside from a couple medical and Homeland Security products, Xela’s objective is to focus on what we know best: kitchen and washroom hygiene. Consequently, the MDI innovation team was transitioned under Xela to form its own research and development division. In 2007, Xela launched a new global hygiene brand, Pūrleve (www.purleve.com) for the "Away from Home (Commercial)" washroom. At this time, Pūrleve manufactures and markets its first of many upcoming hygiene products: a proprietary line of hygienic door handles.

The transition from a service company to a "product sale" organization has been quite the experience. It has presented a slew of challenges and strategic variances. All of which, Dr. Pricer and the other Weinert professors focused on throughout the program. Specifically, they ensured we fully understood the fundamental managerial and financial (cash management) differences between a product and service organization. Consequently, this transition has taken almost seven years! Today, I continue to lead MDI and Xela. The stresses range from managing a development team of polar opposites: engineers and designers; to developing brand, hiring sales resources, setting up global manufacturing initiatives and most importantly, developing the business plans and related pro-formas that lead to the MONEY that finances all of these expensive initiatives.

The journey has been a whirlwind and I still much to do and learn. I thank the UW- Madison MBA team and Weinert Center program for the invaluable access to key tools to succeed in the vast world of entrepreneurism. Last, I would like to thank the likes of Dr. Pricer and the other key educators, administrators, consultants, board members, financial backers and my personal network of "friends who are entrepreneurs". Similar to hiring the "right" people to help manage and grow MDI, Xela and the related Pūrleve brand, selecting the Weinert program was evidently the only choice!


Tom Godfrey (2007 Alum) and Katelyn Alainn
Dan and Kathryn Olszewski, (Weinert Center Director and family)
Andy Strunk (2007 Alum)
Julie Weink (2000 Alum)

Your continued support for our programs is greatly appreciated. Anyone wishing to financially support the programs can do so at the following:

Entrepreneurship Program: http://bus.wisc.edu/centers/weinert/give
SMILES Program: http://www.bus.wisc.edu/SMILES/support

Best Wishes,

Dan Olszewski
Director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
Director, Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences
Director, Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) Fund
4429 Grainger Hall
(608) 265-3959

Ramon (Ray) J. Aldag
Executive Director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
Glen A. Skillrud Faimly Chair in Business
3112 Grainger Hall
(608) 263-3711

Anne S. Miner
Executive Director, Strategic Management in the Life and Engineering Sciences
Executive Director, Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship
5252 Grainger Hall
(608) 263-4143

Janet Christopher
Academic Specialist
Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
4425 Grainger Hall
(608) 263-2882

Rebecca Buckman
University Services Program Associate
Wisconsin School of Business
3340 Grainger Hall
(608) 263-4161